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The Power of Surface Analysis Unleashed

Article - May 23, 2024

At the forefront of surface analysis, ULVAC-PHI sets the stage for global expansion and technological breakthroughs. 

Global commerce is a dynamic place, where the strategic positioning of companies is crucial, particularly in the face of evolving economic policies and market demands. ULVAC-PHI, born from a strategic alliance between U.S. company Physical Electronics and ULVAC, epitomizes the convergence of expertise and innovation, and aims to maximize the competitive advantage afforded to Japanese companies.

"Our major business initially focused on dealing with the United States, expanded further in Japan, and from that core, we are now steadily starting to expand to other countries," says Yasuhiro Hara, the company president. This expansion, fueled by a commitment to diversifying supply chains, underscores Japan's growing significance in the global market.

Partnerships have emerged as a cornerstone of ULVAC-PHI's strategy, with a focus on joint research and development. "R&D is a driving force for the market," the president explains, citing trends in the U.S., Europe and even Asia. "We’re keen to find companies that can collaborate with us, those that will allow us both to draw forth the best technologies in a mutually beneficial relationship."

The company's legacy of surface analysis innovation, stemming from the symbiotic relationship between PHI and ULVAC technologies, continues to drive its success. This has been credited to the collaboration for propelling ULVAC-PHI to become a global leader in the underlying technology.

"At that time this surface analysis technology was something that was unknown in Japan," reflects Mr. Hara. "It was through ULVAC-PHI’s promotion of this tech that it spread widely throughout Japan, not only to industry players, but also to governmental departments, universities, and R&D laboratories.

"This push has really been the key driving force behind the development of surface analysis technology," the president continues, "and since it has become a technology that is applied to a wide range of fields around the world. Honestly, I think this is the greatest benefit that came from our collaboration."

ULVAC-PHI's surface analysis products find diverse applications across a variety of industries, with batteries and semiconductors emerging as key growth areas, not only on the R&D and quality control front but also in ways where the product outputs can become key indicators in business management. This foresight underscores the company's commitment to anticipating industry trends and meeting evolving customer needs.

"Due to further deepening our research and understanding from the customer’s perspective, we understood that their objective at the time of purchase changes as they continue to utilize the device," says Mr. Hara. "Slowly, as they use the device, new needs may emerge. We have a strong corporate purpose to become a company that is always thinking about what will best serve the customers, not what will sell the most."

Then there is the introduction of groundbreaking products like the PHI GENESIS and PHI nanoTOF 3+ that reflects ULVAC-PHI's dedication to innovation. The PHI GENESIS is a culmination of customer-centric design, tailored to meet evolving market demands, while the PHI nanoTOF 3+ offers cutting-edge capabilities in ion identification and high-resolution imaging, poised to revolutionize the aforementioned industries of batteries and semiconductors. The key benefit is not only the 2D imaging, but the fact that the device can produce 3D images, importantly allowing users to see the depth of a material. Users can analyze when something is broken or faulty and then troubleshoot it.

Looking ahead, ULVAC-PHI sets its sights on expanding its global footprint over the next few years, particularly in emerging markets like Southeast Asia and India.

"We already have a leading share when it comes to the surface analysis instrument market, but we want to get even bigger than that," states the president. "We want to be the unquestionable giant, the unquestionable leader of the global market, blazing open new possibilities for applications of our technology. Towards this end, we are putting huge investments into R&D and therefore are actively seeking R&D partners around the world to grow with us."